To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to product reviews and travel diaries, it is all part of the TBD Journal.

Cabarete: Riding in Paradise

Team Sixcycle's RSun Smith on Riding in the Dominican Republic

Cabarete – sun, fun…bartender please can I have another one

For the past few years, I have been making an annual pilgrimage to the Dominican Republic in January to celebrate my born day. Having previously vacationed in the south and east coast of the island, I decided to try the north coast. I settled on Cabarete. Cabarete is a small town known for kite surfing. Also the north coast of the island is the home of the best mountain biking on the island.

Upon arriving I stopped at the supermarket on the way to the condo from the airport. I dropped everything off at the condo then went straight to Iguana Mama. Iguana Mama is an adventure tour company here in Cabarete. They also rent mountain bikes. The staff got me all set up with some wheels.

The obvious next priority was to learn about the local bar scene. As you know, beer and cycling have shared a long and meaningful relationship. After this first night, I played a key role in expanding this great relationship to also include tequila and Dominican rum. With each coming night, this grew to include numerous other spirits too. One night while at a beach bar some guy was selling Viagra and Cialis. He had Ziploc bags with loose pills in it. I thought this was hilarious. He would go to each table asking if anyone wanted to buy some. I declined. I don’t think that the visible symptoms of ED drugs would be a good look while wearing my bibshorts.

Not surprised, but I didn’t wake up the first morning as fresh as I would have liked. Balancing the life of an athlete with that of a bar patron can be challenging. The 80/20 rule often explains many of life’s situations but if I only spend 20% of my day drinking why do I feel like crap for 80% of the following day? I guess I’ll have to figure this out along with life’s other dilemmas during my ride.

On the first night, I didn’t sleep so great either. Things are different than the usual tranquil sounds of the incessant car horns honking that I sleep to in New York. Here, at night I would fall asleep to loud bachata music from the bar a block away. This goes until 1am, or sometimes 3am. In the morning I’d wake up to roosters. Language is often a communication barrier for humans. Somehow roosters in all countries do the same “cock-a-doodle-doo.” There are about 15 chickens that live in the yard across the street. For their own good, they should think before they wake me up again. Because 1. I don’t appreciate the noise and 2. I have a BBQ grill and I come home mighty hungry from my rides.

After my morning trip for coffee, everything felt better. Love me some Dominican coffee! I decided that each morning I would go to a different place for coffee and dinner. I would prepare all other meals at home.

The riding here was great. You could be on mountain roads for hours without seeing a car. There are some very challenging rides with rugged terrain. When it rained the roads were even tougher. The mud was very different in different areas. In some areas seemed to have a high content of clay which made for red colored mud. Some areas were light tan, almost white. Others were brown and some even green. Methinks the green was animal shit. Bring a kit that you don’t plan to race in because you will never be able to get it clean again. I gave mine to a local after my last day of riding. He couldn’t have been happier.

While not encountering vehicles on the off roads, I did have a few interesting run ins with animals. On one ride, I had to stop multiple times because the road had been taken over by either a flock of chickens, donkeys or cows. Riding through a number of small villages, I would always find myself being greeted by young children who were quite excited by my presence. On one ride, I also found myself being greeted by a pack of four dogs who were quite upset with my presence. That made for my biggest effort of the week. They started chasing me just at the foot of a short steep climb. It sure took them a while to get tired and quit chasing me.

I spent 2 weeks in Cabarete. In total I spent 6 days going on rides of at least 2-3 hours each. I also enjoyed some time surfing as well. I also programmed some nice beach workouts on other days. On rest days, I focused on mobility work and some regular general movements. No matter what is happening in my various types of training, I always perform a minimum of 10 reps each of squats or pistols, pushups or burpees and hollow rocks or l-sits every day. The minimum is 10, so somedays it could be 50 on others a 100. These helped me to continue some sort of development even when I had “un otra resaca”, another hangover.

This was a fantastic trip. Cant wait until the next one. To my delight, it rained on the day that I left. I felt like I was getting choked up while I packed my bags. I was so sad about the thought of leaving. The rain made it much easier for me to handle. 

Pictures from Team Sixcycle's RSun Smith while Riding in the Dominican Republic